Today is the 100th anniversary of the modernity. It sprung, like Athena, full grown from the head of it’s creator. Thundering, screaming, pulsing rhythmically it exploded into a dying Victorian world. It was the birth of modern classical music for everyone. Everyone, that is, except it’s composer. Stravinsky went contently back to his baroque roots. He never tried to top it.
The young Stravinsky had taken Paris by storm in previous seasons. His Petrushka, the year before, had been a massive hit. “There is no question at all, he was a star,” says Walsh. But compared with the Rite of Spring, “Petrushka was not such a forbidding score, by any means.”
Stravinsky himself said that when he first played the beginning of the Rite, with its dissonant chords and pulsating rhythm, to Serge Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, Diaghilev asked him a “very offending” question: “Will it last a very long time this way?” (Stravinsky replied: “To the end, my dear.”)
So the music was as startling as the strange jerky movements of the choreography. Esteban Buch argues that you cannot separate the impact of one from the other. What upset people, he thinks, was “the very notion of primitive society being shown on stage”. – NPR
Throughout Stravinsky’s music you can hear his voice. His unique signature. This is musical terroir. Just like plants grown in a certain environment have a unique flavor, all creation draws from it’s environment. What was perhaps so shocking to the audience at the Paris Opera that night in 1913, was not the ugliness of Stravinsky’s score, but that the music they heard was their voice. If you listen close, underneath all the chaos, you can hear the tender, melodic tones that float like fairies from the breath of flutes and the vibration of violins. He had laid open the soul of the society. On the eve of WWI a virgin was about to be sacrificed.
When I contemplate our own culture, there is a single thought that comes to mind: Friends, Diet Rite is not a proper sacrifice.
Diet Rite is a brand of no-calorie soft drinks originally distributed by the RC Cola company. It was introduced in 1958 and initially released as a dietetic product, but was introduced nationwide and marketed to the general public as a healthful beverage in 1962. The original formula was sweetened with cyclamate and saccharin.
Queimada, the Fire Drink
- 1 liter orujo (substitute Italian grappa if orujo not available)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- rind of one lemon cut into strips
- scant 1/4 cup whole coffee beans
This queimada recipe makes about 8 servings
Special Note: For the preparation of this drink, you will need a large fireproof clay pot or bowl, sealed or glazed on the interior and a very long-handled wooden spoon to stir the queimada.
Place the clay pot or bowl on a fireproof table of atop a cold BBQ grill. Be sure to have a large lid handy to put out the flames.
Pour approximately 4 Tbsp orujo and 1 Tbsp sugar into a small glass and stir to dissolve sugar, then set aside.
Pour the rest of the orujo and remaining sugar into the clay bowl and stir. Add the lemon peel and coffee beans and stir again.
Pour the orujo and sugar mixture from the glass into a ladle and light it on fire. Carefully move the ladle very close to the clay pot until the orujo mixture in the pot catches fire. Stir frequently until the flames turn blue. Slide the lid over the pot to put out the flames. Serve hot.